Our house has been a mess these last few days and weeks.
As we plan to move out of state, we have boxed up several of our belongings (you know, those temporary, earthly belongings that we all have...ones we will not hold on to forever) and the rest we plan to tackle very soon.
We'll miss it here in Michigan but at the same time we're looking forward to this next stage in our life (and the warmer weather, year-round, will be nice too but, hey, I digress).
The main lesson we've been teaching Levy & Seth during this transition is that we do not have a forever home on this earth. No matter how nice the city we live in, the house we have, the things we've gotten used to, even our family and friends, nothing is forever.
Our eternal home is with God.
This should not motivate us to live with fear or to be lazy. It should urge us to live holy and godly lives (see 2 Peter 3:11) and to make the most of every opportunity since the days are evil (see Ephesians 5:16).
It might sound like a bit much to be telling our children that nothing is forever and to not get attached to things. It's not. Having lost my father at the end of last year, I can tell you with Biblical certainty, there's nothing more important than preparing for and desiring to be with Jesus.
It should be so normal for the normal Christian to think this way. But we are so earthly minded. We don't think about death and eternity enough, and as a result, we are engulfed in activities that make us dumber and we love/like things that can't love or like us back.
Jesus had no place to lay his head. He knew very well that He was here for a short time and had a mission (i.e., God's will) to fulfill. Do you and I? "Oh, that's Jesus", someone might be quick to say. Yes, that's Jesus. He is the only One we should be following! The patriarchs and matriarchs of the faith knew very well they were passerbys and sojourners on this earth. We're concerned with what style chandelier we will replace the dining room lighting with.
In about 3 months time, Seth, our youngest, went from "No, I don't want to move. Never!", to "How many more days tati (daddy)? I'm so excited."
If only we would have that same attitude of heart and say, "Jesus, how many more days? I'm so excited to be with you."
Keep the fire burning,
Inflation, the rise in prices over time (a simplified definition), is here and it probably won't go away anytime soon. What are you doing about it, besides perhaps complaining?
Inflation doesn't impact everyone the same way. For example, if you're working from home, you're not too concerned about gas prices. If you commute a lot and/or have multiple drivers & cars in the family, it's a different story.
We are not the first generation to experience difficult, changing economic conditions, if we can even call it that! And as bad as things seem to be, they were worse.
Here's an excerpt from MarketWatch for some perspective: "People who believe gasoline prices have never been so high are suffering from what economists call “the money illusion.” Simply put, this means our brains are fooling us into thinking we’ve never had it so bad, when actually the cost of driving a mile in your gas-powered vehicle is now lower than it was for most of the past century."
Let's look at a few tried and true tips to help you stay ahead during these times and keep the big picture in mind...
1. Tackle debt
If you have no debt, move on to the next tip. If you have debt, list it out in order of least to greatest. Pay it off incrementally (you know, the whole debt snowball effect). Even if things are tighter financially, it doesn't mean you have to stop the journey to being debt-free, you can simply adjust your allocations.
WHY: When you practice living debt free even during inflation, the habit will stick and put you ahead financially, over time.
2. Look for a better job
You don't need inflation to motivate you to get a better job but it sure does add some spark. Jobs are out there but they won't just drop in your lap. You will need to go out and search. For some, that can feel like a full time job. If you need help, let me know. Note, you can still be a grateful person and content with all you have but that doesn't mean you need to settle. This requires wisdom. If your current job is just not cutting it, cut it. See what else is out there and don't be afraid to change the career landscape a bit.
WHY: It's is a candidate-driven market, at least for now. Employers know that they need to step things up if they want to attract and retain the right talent (as a tangible example, my latest job move was a 20% increase). If you haven't found a company willing to negotiate or meet your needs, keep looking.
3. Do side work or create a stream of passive income
Every bit helps. Is there something you're good at that you can get paid for? For example, several years ago I gave private violin lessons in the evenings. Now that I think about it, the cash was great for gas! Now, when it comes to passive income, there's nothing 'passive' about it, at least not initially. Is there anything you can invest some of your time and money into, now, that can potentially increase your time (availability) and money, later? For example, a small rental property or a fixer upper. If that's not doable, what about offering remote administrative assistance to corporate executives? There are many professionals out there that need help with basic clerical/organizational tasks, all of which can be done remotely. Or what about a small franchise business that doesn't require a lot of money to get started?
WHY: It's good that you have one main source of income but two or three or more are better. Your life situation will eventually change; get creative and don't put all your eggs in one basket.
4. Get rid of non-essentials (services, accounts, etc.)
You know that binging is not good for you so why hold on to the streaming accounts (Netflix, Prime Video, etc.)? Your gym membership is probably also highly underutilized. Try something new: Workout at home, do outdoor activities, etc. And that food-in-a-box delivery service. Why!? Just get the items you need from the grocery store. The list of non-essential things you can cut out from your life is vast. The key is: D-I-S-C-I-P-L-I-N-E.
WHY: It's a waste of time & money. Deep down, we all know it. Invest in things that matter in the long run and have a significant ROI.
5. Use cash
For anyone that has been using cash for a while, this is a no-brainer. But for some, the impact of using cash is yet to be discovered. Daniela and I have a simple rule: If we can't pay cash for it, we probably don't need it.
WHY: What is in your hand is easier to manage and control than what's in the cloud. Using cash is a proactive approach to money management. You're planning ahead and assigning where your money goes versus wondering where your money went.
Keep the fire burning,
with Danny & Daniela Kovacs
No family is an island. Join us as we share candid discussions, Biblical advice & resources to help keep God at the center of your faith, family and career.